A green Lansdowne would erase stadium

DEREK PUDDICOMBE AND SHANE ROSS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

There seems to be some appetite on council to invest in one open-air stadium to accommodate both professional football and soccer.

And given the pressure to do something green and unique with Lansdowne Park, the path of least resistance might lead to Kanata.

Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson said she has spoken with members of the Senators Sports & Entertainment group, who want to build a $110-million, 20,000-seat open-air stadium close to Scotiabank Place, trying to convince them any stadium built in Kanata must allow for both pro sports.

The rival Lansdowne Live group wants to renovate Frank Clair Stadium for a CFL franchise, but have said pro soccer could also play there, and have even offered to give SS&E first choice of home dates should they land an MLS franchise.

The two groups are scheduled to present their proposals to city council April 20. Council is scheduled to make a decision two days later.

Mayor Larry O'Brien and some councillors have held discussions with SS&E and the Lansdowne Live group in hopes of reaching a compromise.

Wilkinson said yesterday there is "general movement in that direction."

'LANDSCAPE MOVING'

She wasn't sure SS&E owner Eugene Melnyk will decide in favour of working with the other side, but "he is considering it," she said.

SS&E chief operating officer Cyril Leeder declined to comment on the negotiations because "the landscape is moving on a regular basis."

"We are trying to get something done but not sure where this will go at this time," he said.

However, support for the Kanata proposal is not what one of the four local businessmen behind the Lansdowne Live proposal is hearing.

Roger Greenberg said his group remains committed to its original proposal of renovating Frank Clair Stadium and the adjoining Civic Centre, and developing about nine acres of adjacent land along Bank St. that would include movie theatres, a hotel and retail and residential space.

"We are focused on promoting our vision for the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park as depicted in Lansdowne Live which we believe is gaining greater acceptance as we meet with various councillors and explain what's going on from our perspective," Greenberg said.

"There seems to be little support from councillors for a stadium in Kanata. So, discussion of any other solution at this point would appear to be academic.

"We will deal with it if and when council rejects our proposal. Obviously, our hope is that they will accept, at least in principle, that our proposal makes the most sense for the residents of Ottawa."


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